DT 29797 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29797

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29797

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where the weather has been cool and rainy and promises to remain so —unlike Senf’s warm and sunny Manitoba where I will be headed in a couple of days. However, I am sure the fine weather will have moved on by the time I arrive. That trip, by the way, is the reason for my reappearance here so soon. You will now get a double dose of pommers over the course of the next two weeks.

For the most part, I found this puzzle a bit gentler than Campbell’s usual fare. The right-hand side went in extremely quickly and the left-hand side—with one exception—was not far behind. The exception is 13d on which I spent nearly as much time as I did on the entire remainder of the puzzle.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   He, a stoic, a smashing prime minister (9)
TAOISEACH — an anagram (smashing) of the first four words in the clue gives the title accorded to an Irish prime minister

6a   Somebody touring clubs in the past (4)
ONCE — an individual somebody touring or going around a card suit

10a   Action to secure both sides of dragline crane, maybe (5)
WADER — a military action of the highest order wrapped around the initial and final letters of DraglinE

11a   Busy teashops needing to save time straightaway (9)
POSTHASTE — an anagram (busy) of TEASHOPS containing T(ime)

12a   Unnecessary to sound off about day with nothing on in retreat (9)
REDUNDANT — start with a word sum of D(ay) and a word meaning bare or unclothed; then reverse this and insert it into a word meaning to sound off or talk in a loud, angry, pompous way

14a   Show lack of interest in Irish rugby (5)
SHRUG — a lurker hiding in the final two words of the clue

15a   About to cross where French boy gets a Swiss roll, say (7)
ROULADE — the usual about or ‘in the matter of’ envelopes the French word for where and another term for boy

16a   Cook using good sieve (7)
GRIDDLE — G(ood) and a course sieve

18a   Quandary of Miss Woodhouse perhaps, after returning hat (7)
DILEMMA — a reversal of a colloquial term for a hat and the first name of the heroine of a Jane Austen novel

20a   Put up piece for executioner (7)
HANGMAN — put up (a painting perhaps) and a piece on a chess board

21a   The Spanish show respect in joint (5)
ELBOW — a Spanish definite article and a gesture of respect

23a   Dramatist newspaper chief crossed (9)
TRAVERSED — a playwright known for writing most of the Aldwych farces and an abbreviated newspaper chief

25a   Line among pages may, unfortunately, mess around with one’s feelings (4,5)
PLAYGAMES — insert L(ine) into an anagram (unfortunately) of PAGES MAY

26a   Chaplain might offer tramp religious education (5)
PADRE — to tramp softly followed by the abbreviation for religious education

28a   Playboy‘s name missing from column, last in article (4)
RAKE — remove N(ame) from a column on a chessboard and append the last letter of articlE

29a   Hooter goes at end of great championship game (5,4)
SUPER BOWL — this hooter is neither a British nose nor an American breast but a creature of the feathered variety; position it following an adjective meaning great—or outstandingly excellent, even; the 2004 game was notorious for the appearance of a hooter—not at the end of the game but at halftime


1d   Keep out of Soweto, we reckon (5)
TOWER — the second lurker of the day, concealed in the final three words of the clue

2d   Leaders of our Liberal Democrats, advanced in years (3)
OLD — the leaders or initial letters of three words in the clue

3d   Show violence towards powerful member (9)
STRONGARM — a synonym for powerful or intense and a body part

4d   Calm, primate eating nutritious seeds (7)
APPEASE — a mammal closely related to humans surrounding nutritious seeds that grow in pods

5d   Label under meat dish reveals symbol (7)
HASHTAG — a label follows (under in a down clue) a meat dish that provides an opportunity for the cook to get rid of the leftovers; octothorpe, the name given to this symbol by telephone engineers in the ’70s didn’t fly in pop culture

7d   Prophet using common sense about crazy paintings surrealist initially put up (11)
NOSTRADAMUS — start by linking together a synonym for crazy, a general term for paintings and like works, and the initial letter of Surrealist; then reverse this lot and encapsulate it in a colloquial term for common sense or gumption

8d   Holly, for example, enduringly popular (9)
EVERGREEN — double definition; the second denoting something that retains its popularity, never growing old

9d   Accordingly, American follows half of them (4)
THUS — an abbreviation for American following the first half of THem

13d   One not spotted in game (6,5)
DOUBLE BLANK — a cryptic definition of one of the game pieces proverbially associated with toppling

15d   Hot stuff, colour sergeant with band (3,6)
RED PEPPER — a colour often associated with heat and the leader of a band of lonely hearts

17d   Publican‘s secret stock inside (9)
INNKEEPER — an adjective denoting secret or private wrapped around a verb meaning to stock or have on hand

19d   Employed by London-based newspaper now and again (2,5)
AT TIMES — this could almost be considered to be a double definition; string together a preposition that could signify ’employed by’ and the name of one of the Telegraph’s competitors

20d   Advance warning from principal teachers at university (5-2)
HEADS UP — another term for principal teachers and the usual expression for at university

22d   Pay wife to decline (4)
WAGE — W(ife) and a verb meaning to decline with advancing years

24d   Live adequately under daughter’s roof (5)
DWELL — an adverb meaning adequately or satisfactorily follows the initial letter (roof in a down clue) of Daughter

27d   Pair, uneasy at first, entering function (3)
DUO — the initial letter of Uneasy injected into a social function

I will give my clue of the day award to 13d not only because I am partial to cryptic definitions but also because it very nearly defeated me. After combing the rules of every cue sport I could think of, I was about to issue an appeal for help around the globe when the solution suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks—or a stack of falling dominoes.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): HEIGHT + ABEL = HIGH TABLE

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : TERN + STYLES = TURNSTILES

64 comments on “DT 29797

  1. 1a defeated me. I knew it was an anagram but I would never have solved it without electrons because I had no idea the word existed. One lives and learns! As for the rest of the puzzle it was most satisfying with many good clues. I particularly liked 4d and 15d but my COTD is the very simple but neat four letter 6a.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the fun and to Falcon for the hints.

    Sunny with showers and rainbows in Shropshire at the moment but I’m hoping to dodge the showers and dig in the last of the French beans in readiness for the garlic bed.

    1. I knew of the word Steve but confess that like others I had to ask Mr G for the spelling, even with three checkers and knowing it was an anagram!

      1. I had five checkers, LROK and even then I could make no sense of it. One of those clues that need some GK in order to solve it.

      2. I knew it right away, learning it for the first time in a news report of a visit to Ireland by some royals, I think the Cambridges. However, I needed to check the spelling, is it derived from Erse?

        1. It is Erse (Gaelic), at least the Irish variant of Erse, and literally means chief or leader.

        2. I know it from news bulletins in the DT, but did need help getting the letters in the right order.

  2. 2*/4*. Good fun as ever on a Monday, and straightforward once I’d passed the spelling test set by 1a.

    I can’t do better than SC @1 for my podium selection: 6a, 4d & 15d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  3. Very enjoyable Monday puzzle that I thought had “a bit more about it” than usual.
    My top three are my final three entries, 1a where it took an embarrassingly long time for the penny (or should I say cent) to drop plus 12&15a, with a nod to 15d, a slightly overrated album, dare I say. Agree with Falcon’s rating so…
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  4. Unlike SC at #1 I did know the word but took a few stabs at getting the spelling right. Irritable vowel syndrome I think. The excellent 13d was my favourite clue, although 5d came close.

    Thanks to Campbell for a fun beginning to the week, and to Falcon.

  5. Very satisfying to complete unaided.apart from spelling checks.
    Pondered for too long, perhaps, over 1a until its last two letters made the penny drop.
    Enjoyable memories of the first part of 23a.
    So, **/****
    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.

  6. I knew the answer to 1a but had no idea how to spell it as it is pronounced (to my ear) teashop! so had to google it. Otherwise pretty straightforward although I found myself trying to overcomplicate matters. I am taking MP’s advice and trying to solve the quickie puzzle which I find far harder but I did manage it today despite David putting in two wrong answers before giving up. Looking forward to my slow roasted tomato and red pepper soup for lunch – it is absolutely delish! Anyway thanks to Campbell and Falcon – enjoy your trip.

  7. Didn’t suffer from Falcon’s problems with 13d but it did take a few attempts to spell 1a and I had to do a bit of reverse parsing on 23a to check that I had the required dramatist.
    Top two here were 14&29a, both of which made me laugh.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon – enjoy your visit to Senf’s territory.

  8. I figured out 1a eventually but had to look up the spelling ( I too call the Iris PM the Teashop….capial letter.). it was quite a straightforward puzzle (2*/4* with a few head scratchers like 1a. I thought 1a was good as anagrams go, whilst 7d was well put together and the misdirection in 13d kept me guessing for a while. I can’t choose between those three. Many thanks to Falcon for the hints and enjoy your trip and thanks to Campbell for another entertaining Monday puzzle.

  9. Straightforward although I was also in the 1a spell check camp. 13d and 29a were my favourites. Thanks to today’s setter and Falcon.

  10. I too had to look up the spelling of 1a. A bit much for a Monday morning, expecting a person to know how to spell that.
    Otherwise got everything sorted alone and could do the parsing.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon. Have a good trip to Ottawa.

    Distinctly cool here in Dundee. Looks like rain coming too. Autumn is definitely upon us now.
    Wading through our bumper crop of apples, thrusting them upon any caller. The posties are delivering with their baffies (slippers) on. No point in trying to give them away to the neighbours as they all have their own.

  11. I had to spell check 1a too. I’ve no idea how it’s pronounced but tea shop sounds about right to me! I completely missed the lurker in 14a and wondered what the Irish had to do with the answer. Oh dear. No particular favourite. **/*** Thanks to all.

    1. I don’t know if it helps, as it’s only for part of the word, but ‘isea’ in the middle could be short for I(rish) SEA.

  12. Never even heard of 1a let alone how to spell it-like Steve electronic solve required!
    The remainder produced an excellent Monday puzzle, hard to pick favourites, liked the surface of 15d and the 7d charade. special mention for 13d for originality.
    Thanks to Falcon for the pics, 29d was somewhat bizzare,madder than her brother, saw him live at Aintree with one of my sons,great dancer and performer.
    Going for a **/****

  13. Loved YS’s irritable vowel observation re the spelling of 1a. It was my first in & letters 2,3&4 are the tricky ones & my first stab had them in the wrong order despite recalling a horse of that name. A typical gentle kick off to the new week & enjoyable as always from our ever reliable Monday setter. 13d was my pick, 5d was in the runner up spot & the crafty lurker at 14a just pipped 4d for the last podium spot. The bonus cryptic is also largely plain sailing though the Crazy Gang member was unknown to me & needed confirmation.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  14. Like others I had to check the spelling of 1A, which I think is pronounced tea-shock.
    All finished, but I needed the excellent blog to parse 15a, 29a, and 7d. As usual, a perfect Monday puzzle, thanks to Setter and Blogger.

  15. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: **/****

    Favourite – a toss-up between 18a and 17d – and the winner is 18a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon – middle/high 20s for the first few days of this week, then down to seasonal mid/low-teens.

  16. Ha! As almost universally commented above, I too had a wee bit of trouble with 1a. I ‘knew’ the word but had to write it out in different combinations before I settled on the right version. I held myself up at 28a by considering ‘roue’ for far too long.
    Good crossword – enjoyable to work through.

    Chelsea are top of the Premier League so all is well with the world.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Beach Boys – Wild Honey

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  17. Is it really fair to start a crossword with a difficult to spell foreign word? Irritable vowel syndrome indeed!

    I didn’t know the Miss Woodhouse or the dramatist either. Not the best start to the week.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  18. I was helped with 1a having had two spells working in Ireland so I had the answer straightaway but had to wait for the checkers before deciding on the final spelling. Apart from that we had no other problems. Favourite was 13d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  19. Like everyone else, 1a needed several goes to get the spelling right. At 18a spent too long thinking of Mary Whitehouse, not Austin’s Woodhouse. Otherwise, a puzzle that was relatively accessible for me. 1.5*/***

  20. Light, straightforward, a pleasant diversion over lunch – thank you Campbell for the good start to the crossword week. Thank you also to Falcon. Had to check spelling of 1a, like many; still don’t understand the parsing of 29a – bowl being “a creature of the feathered variety”?; 23a a “can’t be anything else, bung it in anyway, who is Travers?” sort of clue. Briefly tried to convince myself that Headman worked for 20a, but that made no sense of 17d.

    Enjoyed 1d, 26a and 7d, but nothing stood out today. 1.5* / 2.5*

    1. Split the solution (6,3) and you will see you have (as I did initially) the wrong synonym for “great”. The wide-eyed, feathered hooter should then be obvious.

  21. I breezed through this nice Campbell last night (I knew 1a and how to spell it but no idea how to pronounce it) until I got to 13d, which I solved with a lucky guess and a lucky bung-in. No standout favourites, just all-around good fun. Thanks to Falcon (‘proverbily’, really?) and Campbell. ** / ***

    Our regular baseball season ended yesterday with two white-knuckled 9th inning finishes for the NYYankees and Boston Red Sox (my team), who will meet in a one-game playoff tomorrow. Go, Sox!

    1. Re “proverbily”, I guess my writing is as badly slurred as my speech.

      As for baseball, the Jays made a valiant stretch run but didn’t get the help they needed from Washington. I guess the former Expos were not about to do them any favours!

    2. Great finish to the season Robert. Sorry I must disagree. I’m in the thrall of the Evil Empire. Go Yankees

  22. A nice puzzle to start the (non) work week with some interesting clues.
    Rate this **/**** for me today.
    New word in 1a for me but it was clear what it was from the get go with the anagram.
    Favourites include 12a, 18a, 29a, 8d & 15d with winner 18a and 15d being very clever.

    Thanks to setter (Campbell??) and Falcon for the hints

  23. Glad I wasn’t alone in having to seek electronic help to spell 1a. Worked on wrong kind of crane for 10a and also the 29a hooter which was a “bung-in” (I seem to go to that term regularly but believe MP may have been responsible for introducing it here?). Favs 17a and 18a. Thank you Campbell and Falcon. (I’m always pleased to have someone else point out who the setters are because
    I am hopeless at guessing them except when relying on the day of the week.

  24. Glad I wasn’t alone in having to seek electronic help to spell 1a. Worked on wrong kind of crane for 10a and also the 29a hooter which was a “bung-in” (I seem to go to that term regularly but believe MP may have been responsible for introducing it here?). Favs 17a and 18a. Thank you Campbell and Falcon. (I’m always pleased to have someone else point out who the setters are because I am hopeless at guessing them except when relying on the day of the week.

  25. Ah-ha, thank you!

    Can commend Campbell’s accompanying online-only prize crossword, 676 – good fun and accessible.

    1. Sorry, that was meant to be a reply to Falcon’s kind explanatory note to me of 2:08pm, but something went wrong in my use of the reply function!

  26. All but one post mentions 1a.
    This word will not be forgotten in a hurry.
    Thanks Campbell.

  27. Thanks, Campbell and Falcon. I loved 1a, but didn’t like the definition of 5d, which therefore stumped me: surely the symbol is just the first 4 letters of the answer? A 5d is the symbol plus a name, used to label items (such as photos, or social media posts). Without the name, it can’t ‘last 3 letters’ anything!

    The free online Chambers dictionary doesn’t have it in. Please could somebody with a BRB let me know if 5d is in there, and if so what it’s definition is? Thanks.

    1. The BRB def is: (n) a word or name precede by the hash symbol, used to indicate the subject of message on a social media site.

      1. And from Google: a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify digital content on a specific topic.

      2. Thanks for looking that up, Jose. That matches my understanding, but not the clue’s. (I think describing the whole of ‘#crosswords’ as a ‘symbol’ is a stretch too far.)

        Falcon, obviously Lexico’s definition 1.1 does match the clue. Interesting there’s enough people using it like that (that is, wrongly!) for it to be in there. But if The Telegraph are going to recommend Chambers, then they should use definitions that are actually in Chambers. Bah.

        I was about to suggest “label” would make a better definition than “symbol”, and indeed a label is something more likely to be under some food, but I see 5d already uses “label” to define the last 3 letters of the answer — and “Label under meat dish reveals a specific type of label (7)” really doesn’t work.

        But that’s part of the problem when an answer is of the form adjective-noun (whether as separate words or joined) and each word is clued separately: the definition of the noun ends up also working for that of the compound phrase (or at least overlapping with it), so it becomes a variant on ‘single definition twice’. So now there’s two things I don’t like about this clue! I’d better stop looking at it and go to bed before I find something else to complain about …

        1. Blimey, I thought I was analytical! Here’s my take on it – and I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong. I would say that a hashtag (as a whole) is a symbol (label might be better) in the sense of a “sign” or “indicator” – placed above a post/article on social media to enable easy identification/cross referencing of the content to catch other users’ eyes. A “symbol” doesn’t have to be a single entity/mark like a #.

          Neologisms usually take years or decades to become “officially” recognised. During that period, their common usage doesn’t necessarily mean they are “wrong” – they’ve just not made it generally into the dictionaries yet.

        2. PS, re: your last paragraph. Split 4,3 the answer, all the relative elements in clue and the answer as a whole are all nounal, aren’t they?

          1. Yes, both ‘hash’ and ‘tag’ are nouns. But when used as the phrase ‘hashtag’, the whole thing is still a tag with ‘hash’ describing the type of tag. So ‘hash’ is being used adjectivally to modify ‘tag’, even though ‘hash’ on its own is a noun.

            This is really common in English: ‘pencil case’, ‘paperclip‘, ‘toolbox’, ‘zebra crossing’, ‘milkman’, ‘birthday present’, ‘passenger ferry’, are each a pair of nouns where the first is being used adjectivally to modify the second.

            (And the exclamation mark after “wrongly!” was meant to suggest that I’m not actually being serious in suggesting that everybody who disagrees with me is wrong. Though in this case the term ‘hash’ has been around for years to indicate a #, whereas ‘hashtag’ was only coined when a term was needed for #PopMaster and the like — so it seems absurd to transfer the new term to the existing symbol that already had plenty of names of its own, including one that’s embedded in the new term.

            If # is a hashtag then #Ilkley is a hashtagtag? Until that term gets transferred, and …)

            1. I’ll have one more go, then we’d better call it a day or others might get annoyed.

              That’s interesting analysis – you know much about grammar. Milkman is a noun, ostensibly comprising two other nouns. I’m not sure that the first adjectively/adjectivally modifying the second is all that relevant in a cryptic clue, mainly because most solvers would never consider that aspect (indeed, the setter apparently hasn’t in 5d). But if it concerns yourself and some other purists, that’s fine. Maybe you and they are right.

              This hashtag thing is confusing. To me, # is a hash. #Ilkley is a hashtag. If you posted something on Twitter you would use the hashtag: #Ilkley. Using the hashtag: # would be a bit pointless.

              1. * An official description of a hashtag:

                A hashtag is a metadata tag that is prefaced by the hash symbol, #. Hashtags are used on microblogging and photo-sharing services such as Twitter, Instagram and WeChat as a form of user-generated tagging that enables cross-referencing of content; that is, sharing a topic or theme.[1] For example, a search within Instagram for the hashtag #bluesky returns all posts that have been tagged with that hashtag. After the initial hash symbol, a hashtag may include letters, digits, and underscores.[2]

              2. Lexico, the online presence of the Oxford Dictionary of English (and, as I understand it, quite separate from the Oxford English Dictionary), is the only reference source I can find which defines “hashtag” as another name for the hash symbol (#).

                I think we may ascribe too much authority to dictionaries. In my experience, they are like a description I once read of lawyers — consult 6 and you will get a dozen conflicting opinions.

                We all know that Chambers is the authority for the Telegraph puzzles. That does not mean that it is infallible — merely that it is the referee. Like every referee, it may not always be right. However, right or wrong, the players must abide by its rulings.

                Perhaps those who invented the term should decide what it means. The term (and concept of) “hashtag” was invented by Twitter users (Twitter itself originally dismissed the use of hashtags, telling the Wall Street Journal “these things are for nerds”. However, Twitter later embraced the use of hashtags. I think it is pretty clear that on Twitter a hashtag is more than the hash symbol.

    2. According to Lexico (Oxford Dictionary of English), a hashtag is:
      (1) A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) …
      (1.1) The hash sign (#)

    3. * I think the whole thing can be described as a “metadata tag” or simply a “symbol”.

  28. Nice start to the week but parsing 13d and 28a gave me some grief 😳 ***/*** Favourites were 10a & 29a and the rather clever 13d 😬 Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon

  29. 2/3. Enjoyable in parts but had to google the dramatist in 23a and the spelling of 1a which I knew but have never been able to spell unaided and certainly unsure regarding pronunciation. No real standout clues. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  30. I see they’ve watered-down one of my favourite programmes – Eggheads, new on Channel 5. Now reduced to just 4 contestants on each side and with 15 minutes worth of adverts jemmied into the half hour slot! Grrrrrrrr…

  31. Did I ever tell you how much I love you, Campbell? Nothing outré or obscure, most enjoyable. I needed to check the spelling of 1a, natch, so did everyone else. I didn’t know how to spell 7d either but all I had to do was follow your instructions. I consider I solved this unaided, I only had to check spelling, is that OK? Last in was 13d. Fave was 18a but there was so much to like.
    Thank you Campbell, loads of fun, and to Falcon for the hints and tips.

  32. Late on parade today. Thanks very much to Campbell for a very doable and enjoyable puzzle, and to Falcon for the hints.

  33. I’ve been carrying this one around in my pocket all week. Sidetracked by Duolingo wars – it can get quite competitive. A very enjoyable solve, although 1a went right over my head. Nice lurkers and 7d my COTD. Did anyone else have a feeling of deja vu with 7d and 25a? Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the imagery. Great pun on 29a.

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